Dennehy Makes `The Jackie Presser Story' Engrossing

There's a lot of detail to comprehend in HBO's newest TV movie, "Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story," which premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday - but if you can't keep all the details straight or figure out who is double-crossing whom, the picture is still worth watching for the always-reliable and inventive acting of Brian Dennehy as Presser.

Abby Mann, who has a tradition of writing socially relevant screenplays, does his best to sort out all the complications in this inside look at the Teamsters' Union. Still, Dennehy's portrait of the uncouth Presser - a future wife says: "All he needs is an apple in his mouth" - is never less than compelling, and Alastair Reid's lively direction keeps things moving.

There's excellent support from Eli Wallach, Robert Prosky, Al Waxman, Maria Conchita Alonso and Jeff Daniels - plus cameo appearances by President Bush and former President Ronald Reagan not likely to delight their supporters.

The first of the season's new network TV movies is from ABC and is, predictably, a docudrama about sex and murder - "A Murderous Affair: The; Carolyn Armus Story," at 9 p.m. Sunday on KOMO-TV. It was unavailable for previewing - and if you miss it, be advised CBS is also doing the same story, to be called "Danger of Love," coming soon to a channel near you.

Showtime has a new TV movie this weekend, too - "Devlin," at 9 p.m. Saturday. It stars Bryan Brown and is little more than a standard action movie about a cop fighting corruption in higher echelons of the police department. Lloyd Bridges as an imperious kingmaker is a plus - and he meets a particularly appropriate end.

TNT is repeating its newest TV movie, "The Habitation of Dragons," at 7 p.m. tomorrow, but despite being written by the usually reliable and sensitive Horton Foote, and with a talented cast that includes Pat Hingle, Jean Stapleton and Frederic Forrest, it's an overheated, unbelievable melodrama that never rises above its stage origins. You can practically feel the curtain rising between scenes.

Shows to catch: Fox is unveiling another series, "Flying Blind," at 10 p.m. Sunday on KCPQ-TV, and if you like "Herman's Head," which begins its new season at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, you'll love "Flying Blind," to which it bears more than a passing resemblance.

Corey Parker plays Neal, just out of college and working for a big corporation, who feels his life is predictably dull until he meets sexy, unpredictable Alica (Tea Leoni) - and his life will never be the same. It's well-cast, fast-paced, slick and sexy in the Fox sitcom style. The fact Jim Burrows, who directed most of the early "Cheers" episodes, directed the pilot doesn't hurt either. "Flying Blind" is in an awkward time slot but if enough viewers catch it, it could turn into a hit.

Also enjoyable is the opening segment of the new season for the syndicated "WKRP in Cincinnati," at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on KING-TV. Newest cast member is a wild-man DJ, played by French Stewart, who seems to have been told to make his character as close to Kramer on "Seinfeld" as possible.

Shows to Avoid: CBS' "Frannie's Turn" sitcom, which premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday on KIRO-TV, is stupefyingly bad - terribly acted, stupidly written. One wonders the sanity of whoever at CBS gave the green light for this mess.

And who gave the green light at KOMO-TV for "That's Amore," a new syndicated series Channel 4 likes so much that, starting Monday, it's airing it at 11 a.m. and again at 2 a.m. It's another of those wretched shows where married couples complain about each other at tiresome lengths.

Tom Arnold, still riding on the coattails of wife Roseanne Barr, has another tasteless, unfunny "comedy" special on HBO, premiering at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. It's a case study in how to be offensive without ever being funny.

Video notes: NBC repeats a great "Cheers" episode which features Johnny Carson, at 9 tonight on KING-TV. . . . Julia Child goes to Norway for an hour special at 8 tonight on KCTS-TV. . . . Fox's new comedy series, "Likely Suspect," premieres at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow on KCPQ-TV. . . . ABC's "Weekend Special" series of children's specials begins its new season with "Take Me Out of the Ballgame," an engaging mix of live action and a cartoon character, at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on KOMO-TV. . . . Don't miss the premiere of PBS' new series, "Behind the Scenes," co-hosted by Penn & Teller, at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on KCTS-TV. . . .CBS' wonderful "Brooklyn Bridge" begins its second season at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on KIRO-TV. . . .Mike Siegel interviews Tony Bennett on his KTZZ-TV show, "One on One," at 5 p.m. Sunday.